This year, we are hosting author Amy Krouse Rosenthal at the Dublin Literacy Conference. She is also our visiting author at Riverside Elementary. We are so looking forward to her visit next week. The kids have fallen in love with her books and with her life's work. We have spent lots of time with her books but we've also spent time with her videos. Amy's work is the basis for our schoolwide Art Show and kids are making great things.
One of Amy's videos that inspired us was her video "17 Things I Made". All of the classes in our school have watched this video and have been invited to think about the things they make.
We invited our students and families to contribute to a school-wide wall called "THINGS WE MAKE" to celebrate all that we make. One of the things I remember clearly from reading Shelley Harwayne's brilliant book, GOING PUBLIC years ago, was the way she used the walls of the Manhattan New School to start important conversations and to build relationships. We decided that this video gave us the perfect opportunity to use the space in a similar way and to celebrate all the things we make. We know that our students and families make wonderful things and that they are all so creative. So, our amazing art teacher created a wall in our school entrance and asked students to share the things they made. Over the last few weeks, the wall has been filling up with "Things We Make". It is fun to see the things that everyone makes --from waffles to paper airplanes to music. But I think the true power is in the conversations that are beginning because of the wall. Our students are interested in what others make--in their talents and passions. As the wall grows, the conversations grow.
|Our "Things We Make" Celebration|
I have always believed in the power of making stuff. I think our wall is one step in letting our students know how much we, as a school community, value the things they make and the creative ways in which they think. But I think for it to be truly powerful, we need to make it more than that. It needs to be a part of the way our students learn every day.
I was fortunate enough to listen to Laura Deisley from the Lovett School speak at Educon on "Why Making Stuff Matters". She presented a Encienda, a 20 slide, 5 minute presentation on the topic. She has graciously shared it on her blog with more of her thinking on the topic. Below is the Laura Deisley's slideshare from Educon.
I would also suggest that you read Laura's post on Masterful Learning to get a vision of what is possible when students are in an environment of questioning, problem solving and creating.
It seems like so many people are talking about the power of making stuff these days. I am hoping that the conversations continue and that we continue to share the things our students make and the impact it has on their learning lives.